A flying start for Dani Sordo and co-driver Marc Marti has seen them take control at the top of the provisional order at Rally Spain in Catalonia. A score of three consecutive fastest times enabled the Spanish pair to check into lunchtime service ahead of their teammates Sebastien
Loeb and Daniel Elena who follow in second place.
Competitors opted for hard compound tyres for this morning's loop, but there were lingering damp portions on SS1 as the World Rally Championship runners tackled the stage.
Sordo and Marti, who are running third on the road, claimed all three fastest times: "It was pretty difficult morning for everyone because the first stage was still damp in places. I am pleased with my pacenotes and with the performance of my C4 WRC. We've found a good pace, but we didn't push too hard. I think the going will be easier, and more consistent, this afternoon."
After posting the third-best time on SS1, Sebastien Loeb
profited from the second stage to ease ahead of Ford driver and championship rival Mikko Hirvonen before profiting from the morning's final test to extend his cushion over his Finnish rival to 14.3 seconds.
"There is no way I'm going to settle for finishing behind Mikko!" Loeb declared. "Dani has got off to a great start and we have succeeded in tucking in just behind him, with Hirvonen a little further back. This morning's run proved quite tricky because we had to cope with damp conditions on hard tyres. I didn't feel 100 per cent confident in my car."